Mike and Flavia's alternative to work
We arrived right at the start of the Laos New Year. They have an unusual way of celebrating this festive occassion. Custom dictates that they have massive water fights for a three day period instead of raising the more traditional glass of champagne. So we got wet, very very wet. Everytime we went out. Taking the approach, if you can't beat them, join them, we armed ourselves with water pistols and helped man the guesthouse hose. This lead to a very fun three days of shouting "be my lai" (or happy new year) and getting soaked. Given that everything was closed, it was a very quiet town and we quickly met up with another travellor (Nicola) with whom it turned out we had several mutual friends (mostly Bermudian and a few Limeys). Travelling on from Vientiane in our VIP airconditioned mini bus (that is to say rather a beaten up mini van that ran out of gas on route) we arrived in Vang Vieng. We spent a lazy day exploring some caves and drifting down a river all from the comfort of our very own tube. We actually did tube through the caves on the underground river that took us for what seemed miles into the mountain. Very cool. After another hellacious bus mini bus journey during which we stopped for lunch at a road side / road kill cafe we arrived at Luang Prabang. I spent the next two days quite ill with the effects of my wonderful lunch. Flavia fortunately had the foresight not to eat anything and was fine and appropriately sympathetic (i.e. smug). Once recovered, we went out to the local tourist attraction- the waterfalls and tiger. This was a really great day out as the falls were just spectacular. We climbed up to the top and were able to swim in the pool that flowed over the next level of the falls thus giving a birds eye view down the falls. Stunning! After several nights of too much red wine (we blame Nicola) we decided to continue our travels north to the remote villages of Muang Nuoi Neua and beyond.